NYC Public Transportation to Purchase 60 Electric Buses

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the organization responsible for public transportation in New York City, will buy 60 electric buses this year. The move will give MTA 85 total electric buses by the end of 2021.

MTA to bring electric buses to N.Y.
MTA expansion of the city's fleet of electric buses at a charging station on the West Side Highway at 42 St on Tuesday.
MTA/Marc A. Hermann
(TNS) — The MTA will purchase 60 fully electric buses in 2021, 15 more than previously anticipated, transit officials announced Tuesday.

The change — which will bring the MTA’s total electric bus fleet to 85 the end of the year — is a small step in a larger effort to convert the agency’s entire fleet of 5,800 buses to electric by 2040.

“The MTA is serious about delivering on the promise of a zero-emissions fleet by our 2040 target,” said Craig Cipriano, head of buses at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “With state and federal support and resources, we expect this program is about to take off exponentially.”

Transit honchos in April sought proposals to deliver 45 fully electric buses by the end of this year, but this week increased the solicitation to 60. Currently, the MTA has 25 fully electric buses.

Cipriano said advances made in electric battery technology and charging infrastructure led the agency to boost its request for electric buses. The increased purchase was announced as the MTA reached a $39 million agreement with the New York Power Authority to install at least 50 overhead electric bus chargers in four depots across the city.

The MTA will also partner with the Power Authority to build more on-street chargers where buses can park between runs to power up. Officials on Tuesday showed off one of the new chargers in Manhattan at W. 43rd St. and the West Side Highway.

The MTA — and electric bus manufacturers — still have a long way to go before a zero-emissions bus fleet can be realized.

The MTA’s current electric buses can hold a charge that lasts for three or four hours — and their batteries take up to seven hours to charge. Those limitations make it unfeasible for the MTA to run electric vehicles on roughly one-third of its bus routes, officials said.

But Cipriano and other transit officials are confident that e-bus technology will improve in the coming years, enabling the MTA to stop buying diesel buses in 2028.

Transit officials plan to purchase another 475 electric buses through the MTA’s 2020-2024 capital plan, which has been delayed by the pandemic. The plan also includes money for 1,074 buses that run on fossil fuels.

“There’s a lot of work to get done,” Cipriano said. “We have 28 bus depots that need to be outfitted with charging infrastructure. ... Right now we’re in the process of developing our master plan to give us a phased, programmed approach.”

©2021 New York Daily News, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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